"Where is he?"

"Inside your imminence, the doctor…"

Cesare stormed through the half closed double doors before she could finish her sentence, banging wood against stone. The nurse startled and almost dropped her bowl of water whilst the doctor stood fast letting one medicinal cup shatter against the marble floor.

"Leave us," Cesare hissed, when no one moved he roared, "Leave us!" and took a threatening step towards the nurse. The two rushed out as if burnt, with Cesare grabbing the bowl of water and towel from the woman as she flew by him.

"And tell the servants we are not to be disturbed until I personally request assistance. Understood?"

A vague 'yes your eminence' reached his ears as the doors slid shut. Cesare quickly slid the bolt across to insure privacy. Turning fast with madness etched into every line of his face the ex-cardinal stormed to the bed, setting the bowl on to the bedside table and falling to sit on the edge of the bed with such force that the body beside him shook up and down.



"Not a word Micheletto. Not a word."

Obedient as ever, the red head remained silent. Observing the sickly man with a critical eye Cesare sighed and began striping himself of his cardinal finery until he remained only in his undershirt and leather trousers. Tossing everything carelessly to the floor the fuming brunet proceeded to dip his hands into the cold bowl of water; lifting the swollen rag and wringing it dry before pressing it gently to Micheletto's forehead.

"Foolish man, what were you thinking taking on eight men with a single sword? I was out of my mind with worry when news first reached me in Rome and I almost broke the horse to get myself here by sunset."

Micheletto remained silent, blue eyes regarding his master with unblinking intensity. Cesare, blind to everything but the gush on his lovers chest rolled up his shirt sleeves and proceeded to clean the wound with unprecedented care the likes of which surprised his rugged man servant.

"Master there's no need…"

"Be quite," and he was though still curious and fidgety at his masters kindness.

"You cannot be so careless any more my love. You have me now and I worry tirelessly about your wellbeing. What might you think I would do should you not return to me one day or worse yet return in pieces on the back of some farmers wheat truck, damaged beyond repair whereby the only way for me to find peace would be to follow you."

"You cannot…" Micheletto yelled out, in a voice uncharacteristically passionate, struggling to sit up; before gasping in pain and dropping back into the cushions. Cesare gave him a slap that although gentle carried a hidden threat should his lover attempt something as foolish as sitting up again. Micheletto was breathing hard from his outburst watching Cesare lower his gaze down his body and back to the wound.

"Damn it Micheletto, it bleeds again because you couldn't contain yourself. I curse the day I fell in love with you!"

The assassin closed his eyes letting the meaning of the words wash over him like warm water consuming his aches and pain; draining away with it all his worries and leaving him completely renewed. A better man. Opening his eyes the red head once more focused on the brunet who was attempting to close the wound with copious amount of healing slave. Wide brow furrowed in rigid concentration. Slowly moving his left hand to rest gently atop Cesares' the assassin squeezed the tense appendage reassuringly causing the ex-cardinal to lift his head and meet the placid gaze of his lover.

"Your grace must promise me to never attempt what he has envisioned should my time come."

"I cannot promise that anymore then you can promise to never leave me. Each of them in itself a burden we must carry, but life or death I won't be parted from you."

Unable to contain himself Micheletto let a rare smile grace his lips. So rare in fact that Cesare managed to hold back a whole moment and bask in it before succumbing to his desire and stealing the precious sight with the press of his own lips.

Setting the bowl and towel on the bedside table Cesare rose to strip away his remaining clothe, moving to the hungry gaze of his lover. Once bare as a newborn babe he lowered himself to the mattress and began moving Micheletto to one side of the double bed.

"Scoot your skinny arse over for me love so that I may lay behind it and grope it at my leisure."

The red head stifled and snort but did as instructed rolling over on to his good side and letting the darker man spoon him from behind. The hand that would usually spend its nights on Micheletto's hip or gently cupping his genitals was now considerately snaked under his arm and resting securely against his upper torso. Nosing away the hair at the nape Cesare let his lips press briefly to the soft skin at the back of his lovers neck. A moan broke loose from the ever-restrained assassin that had the other man smirking and nosing the hair playfully from side to side.

"Sleep Micheletto. Perhaps tomorrow we can indulge in a tryst so fierce that I'll once more be assured of your returning health.